It’s hard out there for a zombie. In the never ending barrage of undead movies it’s getting tougher to stand out from the crowd. I think it’s it’s fair to say that most of the blame must go to The Walking Dead. That TV show sets the zombie bar so high that little can compete. You can have all the running, swarming or flying zombies you like but no one can compete against the quality of the shuffling corpses that Rick and Co battle against week in, week out. The best of recent fair have either gone for bonkers action with zombies on a train (Train to Busan) or something a bit more thoughtful and intelligent (The Girl With All The Gifts). Basically if you don’t have an angle you’re dead in the water.
Fortunately The Rezort does have such an angle: it is Jurassic Park with zombies. Not with dinosaurs AND zombies sadly. And not with zombie dinosaurs… I wish. Just zombies, but it’s an okay premise.
Several years after a zombie pandemic kills two billion people worldwide, the undead threat has been wiped out apart from an island where the rich and stupid can drive around in logo strewn jeeps to hunt zombies for kicks. Obviously something goes wrong and the security system goes down, the zombies get loose and everyone has to get out before the whole place blows up. Good times.
It’s a simple enough premise and doesn’t have any delusions of being anything other than an entertaining horror flick. There is some evil corporation stuff which isn’t anything new but adds some flavour to the plot. Also there’s some conversation about how in times of war it’s the humans who have lost their humanity more than the zombies. I’m not so sure about that: I think if you start rotting, crave human flesh, growl a lot and never change your clothes again you’ve probably lost most of your humanity.
I can’t say that I entirely buy the idea of a resort where people can go and shoot zombies either. It just feels like far too much can go wrong for it to be a viable business venture. Take for example the main group we follow around in the film. Okay you have Dougray Scott as a mysterious marksman who knows how to handle himself and a weapon, but the rest of the tourists seem to handle a submachine gun the way I would handle a numeric drill: randomly and all over the place. Surely far too many guests would get killed in the crossfire? Also who actually would want to go to a place to kill zombies seven years after two billion friends and families became them? Wouldn’t most people be too traumatised by the war to want to go back to a version of it? It would be like opening a Nazi killing theme park in 1952.
Well at least most of the characters have a reason to be there, from being prepared for the next war to winning a competition on the internet. Apart from Scott who, apart from adding a touch of class, remains mysterious.
What is also mysterious but is most welcome are the relatively high production values for this sort of thing. Of course much of the film involves running around dark corridors or mountainscapes but a clever use of matte paintings and set extensions give the impression that the film is bigger than it is. This particularly helps give the impression that The Rezort itself is a large scale and well run operation. However there are also some other nice wide shots, like the ariel view of the boat arriving at the island at the beginning which helps with the sense of size.
Being a British production it feels more like a well made BBC drama rather than something that would give the Hollywood boys and girls something to worry about, but it’s a fun diversion. It’s not going to set the world ablaze with a new rush of zombie apocalypses, but it’s a nice enough break for an hour and a half.